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I've done a few sportives in the UK (London/Cambridge) and love the atmosphere and closed roads aspect. It is possible to go further and faster than I would ever do on a Sunday afternoon spin around the local hills. However after getting throughly rained upon in London I am setting my sights further afield. I am considering combining an event with a holiday for next year. 

Is fly and hire a good option? The prospect of bike boxes and shipping my bike seems daunting and risky, also I don't drive. Has anyone any recommendations for the best events overseas (or in the UK?) and how did you get there? 

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ConcordeCX [906 posts] 3 months ago
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Cross the channel on the Eurostar, book your bike in with Eurodespatch. If you can drop the bike off fairly early it can go on an earlier train than yours and will be ready to collect when you get there. Costs £25- each way, or £30- if you really want it on the same train. From Paris get a train to the station nearest to the start of the sportive.

I have friends who like the Marmotte and the Etape du Tour. I'm more of an Eroica type.

 

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kevvjj [429 posts] 3 months ago
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Wiggle do a sportive called the triclore: https://www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk/events/wiggle-le-tricolore-french-spor...

There are literally dozens of classic sportive type rides to do in Europe. Paris -Roubaix, etape du tour, Maratone Dolomiti, Mallorca 300 etc etc. Depending on how long you intend to ride will determine if it is worth carrying your bike or hiring. Most decent bikes cost at least 40-50 euro per day to hire. Flying British Airways cost nothing for your bike (classed as part of your baggage allowance) but Jetstar will charge around 70 euro per round trip. Just google european sportives... here is a good place to start: https://roadcyclinguk.com/rides-travel/sportive/fifteen-best-european-sp...

 

 

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kevvjj [429 posts] 3 months ago
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and if you like climbing... http://www.taiwankom.org/en/

 

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CXR94Di2 [2278 posts] 3 months ago
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The Marmotte is a spectacular tough event. You might need to buddy up if you don't fancy flying and drive to Alp D Huez with your bike. We'll get them to drive and share costs  1

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bobbydazzler [22 posts] 3 months ago
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I did the Etape this year and thought it was brilliant, through Sportive Breaks.  If you book early enough it can be relatively inexpensive and they book the hotel and transfer from the airport, along with a coach back from the finish to where you're staying.  I took my bike but there were hire bikes available, or as mentioned, you can get a company to courier it to and from.

 

If you're more interested in flat and fast then the Vatternrundan in Sweden might be worth a look.  It's 300k around Lake Vattern.  The only issue is getting to the town, as it's a small one in the centre of Sweden.

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Pitbull Steelers [72 posts] 3 months ago
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The Etape Caledonia is a brilliant closed road ride starting in Pitlochry and held at the back end of May. 

I've quickly checked and you can get a train from Kings Cross straight to Pitlochry. A return ticket for this weekend coming - just as a guide - is £160,  which, if booked earlier, would be a lot cheaper.

Train the whole way and no driving involved with loads of b&b's in the area.

The link is www.etapecaledonia.co.uk

 

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efail [143 posts] 3 months ago
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I've been doing the 'sportives/races' below for several years, so I can recommend them.

Based in Tarascon, last weekend in June,
http://www.cyclosport-ariegeoise.com/cyclosportive-lariegeoise-english/
Six different courses, with about 5000 riders total.

First weekend in July, 3 courses, based around St Lary Soulan or Argeles Gazost, a  week later is, 
the http://www.lapyreneenne.a3w.fr/Main.aspx?numStructure=41006&numRubrique=...

Combine the two with a holiday on some of the best cycling in the world.

At the start of September is, from Luchon, (apologies for this one as it's an entry form)

 https://cnstlltn.com/master/b7926c21-ec98-4a96-893f-82d702437ccd/cyclosp...

Followed a week later by, based in St Girons,
https://www.cyclosportive-la-casartelli.fr/english/

Not huge events, (except the Ariegoise) but friendly, always with a sit down meal after, including wine. Most of the roads are not closed but somehow they manage to get a marshal at almost every road junction, even in the smallest villages The Ariegoise and the Pyreneene give you a cycling shirt in with the entry fee.

An important point is that they treat their sportives more competitively than the UK. They generally have podium presentations, and give prizes at the end, for age categories, through to 65+. You will need a certificate stating you are fit to compete, not just to take part.

Bike hire in all of the towns. If you watch le Tour then you'll appreciate all of the classic climbs, but there are many more to be discovered. All of them within a relatively short distance of each other.

Give me a shout if you need any more info.
 

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crazy-legs [1023 posts] 3 months ago
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Quote:

However after getting throughly rained upon in London I am setting my sights further afield. I am considering combining an event with a holiday for next year.

It can rain abroad as well you know! The year I did Etape du Tour it was baking hot. A week later, as the Tour went through those exact roads, it was chucking it down. Some friends did an Etape or something similar one year and it was so wet and cold that they actually ended up stopping at their hotel (which, quite coincidentally was on the route) for a hot shower and a complete change of kit!

Spain does a good line in relatively cheap Sportives and a lot of holiday companies run specific weeks to accommodate them, eg:

http://www.vamoscycling.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&l...

I've always preferred to use my own bike and just accept the cost of flying with it but if you're not particular about brands etc then you can just take your own pedals, saddle etc and bang them on a decent hire bike.

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Organon [106 posts] 3 months ago
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Some great replies guys, thanks [you've spurred me on the start another thread.]

I'm not a big fan of hills, but 300km of flat doesn't seem so interesting. Will have a good look at some of these.

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srchar [1075 posts] 3 months ago
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I've done a few Etapes, Marmottes, a 312 and assorted other European events, but the most enjoyable is the Maratona dles Dolomites. Great course, tough but not too tough, jaw dropping scenery and a good standard of riding. Oh and the goodie bag contains a Castelli jersey and a bottle of prosecco.

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Tass Whitby [64 posts] 3 months ago
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srchar wrote:

I've done a few Etapes, Marmottes, a 312 and assorted other European events, but the most enjoyable is the Maratona dles Dolomites. Great course, tough but not too tough, jaw dropping scenery and a good standard of riding. Oh and the goodie bag contains a Castelli jersey and a bottle of prosecco.

...and the warm apple strudel en route. Oh my.

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don simon [2622 posts] 3 months ago
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Lagos de Covadonga.

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Yorkshie Whippet [644 posts] 3 months ago
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Not sure if anyone has mentioned the Spring Classic, Gent-Welvegam, Tour of Flanders, Paris Roubaix and Niege-Bastogne-Liege. All have routes from 25mile to 100 or 160 mile.

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rowes [107 posts] 3 months ago
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Tro Bro Leon in Brittany, not as well known as the bigger spring classics, but just as hard. Bring a few inner tubes though!

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turboprannet [303 posts] 3 months ago
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Yorkshie Whippet wrote:

Not sure if anyone has mentioned the Spring Classic, Gent-Welvegam, Tour of Flanders, Paris Roubaix and Niege-Bastogne-Liege. All have routes from 25mile to 100 or 160 mile.

Seconded. Have done Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem, both superb sportives.